Resettlement policy framework and specific resettlement action plan

Description of the project 1.1Background to Ferghana Valley Water Resources Management Project

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1Description of the project

1.1Background to Ferghana Valley Water Resources Management Project

The Ferghana Valley Water Resources Management Project Phase-I (FWRMP) has been devised to address constraints on agricultural productivity in parts of the Uzbekistan territory lying within the Ferghana Valley (FV). In addition, it seeks to tackle chronic problems of water-logging which are affecting infrastructure and buildings within this part of the Valley.
A major problem in the Valley is the high water table, especially in the lower and central parts. This widespread problem is particularly associated with the irrigated areas. The high water table is due to the absence of an adequate drainage system; or a drainage system that is no longer properly functioning because the necessary rehabilitation and maintenance has not been carried out during the past two decades. Poor water management practices have also contributed to this ecological problem. As a result, the area is suffering from substantial water logging as well as soil and water salinization. The high water table has mobilized salt in the soil which, together with water-logging, has resulted in destruction of buildings and residential houses located near the collector drains. For crops, it has resulted in lower yields and therefore lower incomes for the people living in the area.
As stated in the Final Feasibility Report (September 2008), the main objectives of the Ferghana Valley Water Resources Management Project Phase-I (FWRMP) are to:

(a) Promote sustainable irrigated agriculture production, increase employment, and generate farm incomes in the Uzbek part of the Ferghana Valley by improving drainage and irrigation systems and overall water resources management;

(b) Reduce damage to private and public infrastructure, and improve environmental and public health conditions by controlling water logging. In so doing, the Project will enhance standards of living;

(c) Introduce participatory irrigation management through Water Users’ Associations (WUAs) and improved agricultural and irrigation practices so as to enhance innovative cropping patterns and the value of agricultural produce and farm incomes in the Project area; and

(d) Strengthen water management, and irrigation and drainage institutions.

Improved water productivity is understood to mean greater agricultural output per unit of water used, and will be achieved through rehabilitation of irrigation and drainage (I&D) systems, improved groundwater management, and other measures to support local agricultural producers and communities. Improved overall water resources management will be measured through increased quantity and reliability of flows in Syr Darya basin on the basis of Water Balance studies. The Project’s objectives would contribute to Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) goals of increased agricultural production, employment, incomes and living standards as well as improved environment.

1.2Project Area

The Ferghana Valley is a large broad-bottomed valley surrounded by foothills of the western Tien Shan and Pamir Mountains, which are in turn located at the western end of the Himalayas. The Valley is almost totally encircled by mountains, which rise to about 4500 m, with only a narrow mouth to the west through which the Syr Darya river drains the valley, first into Tajikistan, and then across the Uzbek and Kazakh steppes to discharge into the Aral Sea. The valley floor has an elevation of about 450 m above sea level (asl).
The Project Area is located in the south-central part of Ferghana Valley on the left bank of Syr Darya river roughly between 40 20’ and 40 38’ northern latitude and 71 04’ and 71 28’ eastern longitude. Part of the area sits on the Sokh and Shahimardan river debris cones in the northern foothills of the Alay-Turkestan mountain range.
Administratively, the Project area covers most of Baghdad raion (excepting the extreme southern and eastern sections), about the northern half of Rishtan raion, and the middle section of Altyarik raion, all being part of Ferghana oblast, as well as the cities Rishtan, Baghdad and Altyarik (Map 1). The borders of the Study area are: on the north – Middle Kizyltepe and North Bagdad Collectors; on the west and east – borders of Baghdad and Altyarik raions; on the south – the Burgandin massive of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan. This area slopes slightly from north to south and from east to west with land elevations from 490 to 370 m above sea level (asl).
Figure 1. Map of the Project Area

Improving water resources management in the Ferghana Valley and rehabilitating the I&D system over the entire area is an enormous task requiring large investments. Therefore, the improvement and rehabilitation process will be undertaken through a long-term program, to be implemented in several phases over the next 15 years. The FWRMP is the first of a series of Projects for implementation by the Ferghana Valley Water Resources Management Program.

The Project area is about 67,000 hectares; of this amount, 48,000 hectares are cultivated. About one third of the cultivated area is under cotton production and about the same amount is devoted to growing wheat. The remaining area is used for orchards, vineyards, vegetables, and other crops. The crop intensity is about 112 percent and increases when short duration fodder crops and vegetables follow wheat. It is therefore possible for farmers to minimize construction and rehabilitation damage to standing crops provided that they have timely information.


1.3Population and Project Affected People

The Project area accommodated 490,000 people in early 2007. Currently, agricultural activities are carried out primarily by leasehold or dehkan farmers; the state cooperative farms (shirkats) no longer operate in the Project area. The leasehold farmers used to have 20 hectare holdings, on average. In the process of farm consolidation (optimization process) rapid changes have taken place, and every 2 to 3 leasehold farms were merged under one management selected from among one of these farms. Thus, the legal entities, i,e, the newly emerging farms that deliver the produce, pay taxes, etc., have been reduced from 3,900 in 2007 to 1,800 in 2009. The leasehold farmers are organized into 35 WUAs which, are based in the former shirkat areas.

While a relatively small number of leasehold farmers cultivate most (75 percent) of the cultivable land, the greatest majority of the farming families rely on 12,000 ha or one-quarter of the cultivable area for their living. There are some 88,000 dehkan households with very small holdings of 0.14 ha (garden plots) adjacent to their homes; about 10 percent of the households have an additional dehkan farm of 0.15 ha outside the settlements, away from their homes. All Project construction and rehabilitation works will take place on the lands of leasehold farmers. This land is owned by the State. No works will be performed on the very small plots of dehkan farm land adjacent to the homes, or to home gardens. Because the Project will rehabilitate the entire I&D infrastructure, however, there is a possibility that some of the dehkans farms may also be affected1. Thus no adverse Project impacts on standing crops will fall on the shoulder of the greatest majority of the people in the three districts - the dehkan farmers with no additional land outside the villages. The largest impacts will be on leasehold farmers whose land holdings are significantly larger than any of the dehkan farms.

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